CCK hosting its website abroad……

I have written so much about local hosting; why it should be promoted, the disappointment and double speak of government officials who say how the industry is growing yet they show lack of faith in the industry by outsourcing services to the more developed countries.

For a regulator like the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), you would expect them to be promoting services if the whole talk of how infrastructure has improved and how it is getting better.

I decided to check out where a bunch of sites are hosted, while doing research on an article on the value of local exchange of content. Ideally, it brings costs down if locally hosted content is exchanged locally. You can read how KIXP saved ISPs $1.5 million in this article.

So, where is CCK website hosted? In the US

How long will it take for CCK website to resolve? See the hops it goes through below: Marseille, Newark…. etc

Should CCK be expected to show some support for the local industry?

To be fair, I talked to Christopher Wambua about it and he told me that they gave the tender to a local company and as it happens, the company hosts abroad.

My argument was that if a CCK supplier, whether Kenyan or not, decided to supply eggs or milk from Malawi, would they say yes just because the company is Kenyan? I thought there are ethics or what do you call those? Where a company says that we have faith in this industry so we prefer if you procured services locally.

I know people will say its cost but don’t tell me that CCK can’t pay 12, 20, or 30k local hosting just to set the pace. I know we have no faith in Kenya Power but when there is a fiber outage, it means site till accessible.

I know its the prerogative of the CCK but I thought that it was odd, whatever the reason, I hope its all worth it 🙂

rebecca

April 20th, 2012 View Profile

“Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.” ― George Orwell

Comments

  1. echenze

    Reply

    Talk of preaching water and drinking wine. The same could be true of most sites run by government parastatals. Oh yes ICT is the major driver of our beloved Vision 2030 and the government is leading from behind.

  2. Joe Muchru

    Reply

    Wanjiku,

    While I see the argument you are raising for local support, I think there is a bigger question as to whether the Internet is local? Also how many of the local hosting companies are locally owned? I think you should evaluate the total economic impact to Kenya and not base it on face value. It would be great if as an industry we answer some key questions and then decide whether it is beneficial to use “local” or imported. My phone is Korean, Laptop Apple (Chinese or US – you decide), Office furniture from a South African company, imported from Italy etc.. back to the subject of local hosting ….. How many Kenyans are in the diaspora and using the Internet. I think you are asking the wrong question. You should be asking about the quality of service to the visitor of the site. Various considerations go into where to host a service;
    1) Cost
    2) Security
    3) Quality of Service – where is your primary audience, what devices (mobile (feature or smart phone?, desktop, tablet )
    4) Search Engine Ranking and optimisation – Discoverability
    5) others …

    Who is best positioned to provide this kind of comparison data? Can you investigate and give us feedback?

    Thanks

    Joe Mucheru

    1. Waithaka Ngigi

      Reply

      @Mucheru,

      I got to ask, is this you blogging or Google talking? Does the CCK equivalent of the US host its website in say UK / Ireland / Germany? If they decided to host it in say Helsinki, Finland, would the Internet is local argument fly in the US?

      Didn’t GoK spend a few billion shillings to build a datacenter and yet a leading light in matter Communication can’t use that?

      There is a time to put down our commercial interests and look at such an example and call it for what it is!

      And there is a time to be Kenyan.

      Regards

  3. Ali Hussein

    Reply

    Rebecca

    I am sorry my dear sister but that is just simplistic thinking. Firstly it is not the prerogative of government to worry about local hosting…Secondly the private sector needs to take this issue up. Next thing we know we will be asking the government to run our companies in the ICT Space…

    Ali Hussein

  4. Phares Kariuki

    Reply

    @Ali

    Unfortunately, yours is simplistic thinking in this case. The government does have a prerogative to develop local industries. A simple example is Embraer in Brazil, which grew to it’s current level (with Kenya Airways buying jets from it) primarily from the government purchasing. We don’t want the government to run the companies in the ICT space, just use the taxes it collects from us to develop the very same industries.

    If the private sector has it’s act together (as is the case with many companies e.g. Cellulant, which has won a contract from the Government of Nigeria recently, Seven Seas etc) and we have the capacity, it’s wrong for the government to outsource the work… The government of Rwanda currently has a model that for large government contracts, you have to work in tandem with a local firm, which has two companies (Rock Global Consulting & Matrix Business Solutions) experience accelerated growth and are now capable of handling a lot of the business the government has without external partnerships. They have grown their capacity. The government loses less money and this in a small way, fixes their balance of trade and increases employment locally.

    The US government is currently trying as much as possible to end outsourcing with companies like Apple/Cisco etc.

    I am not saying that we should adopt a model that was used by India/China in the mid-late twentieth Century (extreme market protection) but I believe it should be tempered. Importing milk from Tanzania for example, will simply kill our dairy industry. Market protection has it’s ills as well, but if well done, grows your economy.

    I agree, to a point, with Joe’s approach, however, with CCK, given the nature of their business, will necessarily have most of their traffic being local. We do have some good local hosting companies. If for instance, the tender was inclusive of all that and a preference for local hosting (if the website were to be local) or international (in this case the US), then this should clearly be specified at the tender stage.

    The government wants to have 500 companies the size of Seven Seas technologies (according to what I read from the recently ended Connected Kenya Summit – correct me if I’m wrong http://softkenya.com/kenya-ict-board-plans-500-new-firms-by-2017-to-push-kenya-to-top-10-ict-hubs/) which basically means that in the next five years, we will have, 500 companies with over 1B KES in revenue (500B KES – 6.01B USD, with current rates). How are we ever going to achieve this if the government (currently the largest consumer of ICT Services) does not channel it’s resources into local firms?

  5. admin

    Reply

    This is an interesting response by Eugene Lidede to @Mucheru it was sent to Kictanet mailinglist but I thought it raises valid points and will balance the arguments here (@wanjiku)

    I find it hypocritical, that we want to be at the forefront of lobbying government to outsource locally, but when that is done, we in turn outsource abroad using sleek phrases and acronyms like BPO/ITES, Lack of Capacity, Costs, Security… the list is endless!

    While I see the argument you are raising for local support, I think there is a bigger question as to whether the Internet is local? Also how many of the local hosting companies are locally owned?

    The Internet is as local as the Internet is abroad and vice-versa. The question of whether a firm is locally owned or not, is a “local-hosting” irrelevancy that needs to be addressed differently. It may be entertaining to watch Nigerian oga movies produced in Abuja, it would be better to see a few Kenyan actors star in those movies and a few scenes shot in Kajiado, the best experience is to have a hearty laugh watching hilarious Naswa/Pasua comedy clips.… whether some Nigerian owns the production company behind Naswa is equally an irrelevancy as far as “local-do-it-ourselves” goes.

    The net effect of every shilling spent in Kenya as opposed to being converted to dollars and spent abroad, is pretty straight forward I should think. I find it hypocritical (if not defeatist – and bordering on an economic crime) that a company “saves” by hosting abroad and later claims to partake in CSR activities and benefits from Tax incentives for the phony CSR!

    It would be great if as an industry we answer some key questions and then decide whether it is beneficial to use “local” or imported. My phone is Korean, Laptop Apple (Chinese or US – you decide), Office furniture from a South African company, imported from Italy etc..

    I want to believe that the decision to import an Apple computer is more informed by the lack of a local alternative in functionality, aesthetics, prestige or some peculiar sentimental value. If only there was a local brand called Chungwa that could equally tickle your gadgetry taste buds….. The same “lacking” cannot be claimed for local hosting.

    How many Kenyans are in the Diaspora and using the Internet.

    What difference does it make? If anything, they ought to be on the frontline advancing our cause as a “hosting”/ICT destination, while we develop the requisite capacity to absorb the business they forward our way. I think it is immoral from a policy perspective to target the Diasporas while 40 million are languishing in traffic Jams and endless dropped calls, just to mention a few of the “easiest-to-solve” of our local ICT problems…

    America did not just wake up July 4th and decide to outsource software development to India or hardware to China. It is the nationals of these countries residing/visiting America who built their respective cases and they did so with the confidence that back home there was sufficient capacity and capability. Unlike in our case, they managed to do so despite language and accent barriers and differences in political ideology and nuclear capability. We seem to have our cart in front of the horse, expecting the IBMs and Googles of this world to come develop capacity for us then swing us some!

    I think you are asking the wrong question. You should be asking about the quality of service to the visitor of the site. Various considerations go into where to host a service;

    With respect to CCK hosting, for as long as they are dealing with a middle man (aka Broker/Reseller) then topics like Security, Quality of Service ought not to arise, and if they do, then the contract ought to go to a firm with demonstrated local infrastructure.

  6. Mentalacrobatics

    Reply

    I have a single simple point. I find it impossible to buy local hosting. I have asked online, on email, on Twitter, on Facebook, on local tech lists about local web hosting. Not a SINGLE local web hosting company replied. I eventually found details of Safaricom’s web hosting service. After 3 WEEKS they still have not managed to set up a web hosting account for one domain. As we all know this is a process that usually takes 5 mins with an international professional web hosting service.

    So while it would be good to host our content locally local web hosts act like it is their right to host our content. There is very little effort made to convince us to host locally. The main argument is, be patriotic! That does not work if patriotism stifles efficiency.

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  8. makoani

    Reply

    Even President.go.ke is hosted abroad. Many local web hosts just use reseller web hosting or collocate in more developed countries. All the same supporting local companies will help them grow and establish data centers here in Nairobi.

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